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If you Scrum according to the 2010 Scrum Guide, are you doing Scrum?

And what if you do “2001 Scrum”?

Willem-Jan Ageling
Nov 13 · 3 min read
An immutable stone wall by Tama66 at Pixabay
An immutable stone wall by Tama66 at Pixabay
An immutable stone wall by Tama66 at Pixabay

The Scrum Guide cover says:

“The Definitive Guide to Scrum: The Rules of the Game” — Scrum Guide 2017

The end note of the Scrum Guide states:

“Scrum’s roles, events, artifacts, and rules are immutable and although implementing only parts of Scrum is possible, the result is not Scrum.” — Scrum Guide 2017

This end note also appeared in previous versions of the Scrum Guide (from 2016, 2013, two from 2011). The 2010 version — the first Scrum Guide — doesn’t have this end note. Older articles and books that defined Scrum also don’t seem to have it.

The end note basically states that if you want to be effective with Scrum, all roles, events, artifacts and rules should be implemented. You can have success implementing only parts of it, but then it is not Scrum. Your successes and failures are not because of Scrum. Scrum inspired perhaps, but it is not Scrum.

But what if you don’t use the Scrum Values (not mentioned in the first Scrum Guides, but re-introduced in 2016)? Does it mean you aren’t doing Scrum? Or are you doing ‘Scrum from the year 2013’?

And if you consider the Sprint Backlog to be a commitment of the Development Team (commitment changed to forecast in 2011)? Aren’t you doing Scrum? Or are you doing ‘Scrum from the year 2010’?

What if you consider the Scrum Master to be responsible for the success of Scrum (yes it says responsible for the success, instead of responsible to promote and support it)? Aren’t you doing Scrum? Or are you doing ‘Scrum from the year 2001’, as described in “Agile software development with Scrum” by Ken Schwaber and Mike Beedle?

If a team is happily and effectively working with Scrum, does the team have to change the way of working when a new Scrum Guide is published?

I understand why the end note is there. It is to stress that every aspect of Scrum serves a purpose, that everything helps to create high value products in a complex product environment.

However Scrum changes through the years as well. And Scrum will continue to change. The Scrum Guide’s end note does suggest that we have at least 5 immutable versions of Scrum (July 2011, October 2011, 2013, 2016, 2017). And perhaps even more versions if we also count the previous definitions.

That’s silly. Don’t you think?

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Thanks to Marty de Jonge

Willem-Jan Ageling

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Interested in ways to work better together. I love the discussion with open-minded people.

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Content by and for serious scrum practitioners.

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